Dopamine, a well-known biomarker, is crucial to understanding numerous neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding dopamine’s physiology, pathology and pharmacology is vital to developing improved clinical and non-clinical diagnostics for neurodegenerative disorders.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) researchers have developed an innovative biosensor to improve neurodegenerative disease diagnostics. The device utilizes polyoxometalate-cyclodextrin (POM-CD) supramolecular entities coated onto working electrodes to detect real-time dopamine release from neuroblastoma (a common cancer found in the adrenal glands) cells.
KAUST’s POM-CD biosensor has excellent electrochemical and colorimetric properties, providing visual and digital signals in under two minutes. “With the sensor’s ability for advanced point-of-care diagnosis, smartphone integration and continuous monitoring options, it has potential applications in personalized medicine,” stated Saptami Suresh Shetty, a biomedical engineering M.S./Ph.D. student at the KAUST Sensors Lab. “It will enable physicians to tailor treatment plans to patients based on their unique dopamine profiles.”
KAUST Professor of Chemical Science Niveen M. Khashab, a co-author of the study, highlighted the potential of using their POM-γCD MOF sensor for developing a multi-modal sensor: “Our device offers the chance to create a multi-modal sensor that offers not only visual signals but also quantitative signals.
“The development of a specific smartphone app using a straightforward linear regression algorithm that can read color changes and translate them into quantitative digital signals was also influenced by the novel properties of the POM-γCD MOF material.”
One of the study’s authors, Dr. Veerappan Mani, believes the user-friendly, low-cost POM-CD biosensor can be applied in various settings, including point-of-care diagnostics and remote patient monitoring.
“The biosensor seamlessly integrates with smartphones, providing real-time monitoring of dopamine levels and presenting data in three categories: normal, unhealthy and extremely high levels,” he noted.
With its real-time monitoring capabilities, smartphone integration and versatile applications, the KAUST-developed POM-CD biosensor could contribute to advancements in clinical diagnostics, drug discovery and personalized medicine, indicating possible progress in neurodiagnostic testing.
The device’s material is also versatile, with potential applications in a wide range of biosensing and beyond.
“The development of advanced diagnostic tools and therapies for neurological disorders is on the rise, and our biosensor is a significant advancement in the field of biosensing,” said Professor Khaled Nabil Salama, the principal research investigator of the recent study.
The neurodiagnostics industry is witnessing significant growth due to multiple factors, including an aging population, technological advancements, increased awareness, government support for research and development, and the rise of chronic diseases causing neurological complications. The global neurodiagnostics market held a valuation of $7.28 billion in 2022 and is estimated to reach $14.83 billion by 2032, with a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% throughout the forecast period of 2022-2032.
“The rapid expansion of the neurodiagnostics industry highlights the importance of continued research to accelerate our understanding of the human brain and neurological conditions,” Salama emphasized. “KAUST is committed to leading in this pioneering field, facilitating innovative solutions that ultimately aspire to improve the lives of individuals."